Can Metal Detectors Detect Steel?

can metal detectors detect steel
Metal detectors can detect steel

Yes, metal detectors can detect steel. However, it depends on the quality of the detector, and the type of steel.

Stainless steel has a very low electrical conductivity making it a tough metal to detect. However, it’s also a very valuable metal making it a favorite for most hobbyists. 

Steel is a bit different from detecting aluminum or detecting titanium. However, it is still one of the best metals to go detecting for.

What is the best metal detector to detect steel?

The best metal detector to detect steel is based on detector depth ability, frequency, and price.

Detecting for steel is one of the few times I would recommend investing in a professional grade metal detector. .

Typically I stick to mid-range detectors due to their ease of use. However, detecting for steel can be HARD

This is why its important to have a metal detector designed to find metals with low electrical conductivity.

I’m all for saving money BUT…

Trying to find steel with an entry level metal detector just isn’t worth the pain. 

Professional grade detectors allow you to fine tune your search settings and in the case of steel, they are well worth the money.

Best beginner metal detector to detect steel

The best beginner metal detector to detect steel is the Garrett Ace 250

If you have to go with an entry level metal detector for steel the Garrett Ace 250 would probably be your best bet. 

You get a lot of value for the price BUT, you’ll still have a tough time finding alloys like stainless steel. 

If possible, I would highly recommend stepping up to a mid-range metal detector for steel at a minimum. 

Best mid-range metal detector to detect steel

The best mid-range metal detector to detect steel is the Garrett AT Pro

This is one of the best mid-range metal detectors for any metal. I would definitely recommend the Garrett AT Pro to anyone looking to target steel and not completely break the bank.

The Garrett AT Pro shares the same advantages the Ace 250 does for detecting steel but, with a few sweet upgrades. 

First and foremost is durability

The AT Pro is waterproof up to 10 feet and is an all-terrain metal detector. The overall product is just simply better made in my opinion. 

It’s tough to tell from the photos, but as soon as you take it out of the box, you can see no expenses were spared in production. 

In my opinion, this is one of the most important factors for mid-range metal detectors for steel. 

I’ve tried out a number of mid-range models that have the same production quality as their entry level counterparts, and simply don’t warrant the price tag bump. 

This means a longer lasting product that can withstand the elements. 

Believe me, my AT Pro is going on 4 years of sand, dirt, rocks, and saltwater, and somehow I still haven’t had any issues with it. 

One other feature worth mentioning is the automatic and manual ground balance toggle. I’ve also found the target identification (TID) and pro audio mode features come in handy from time to time. 

Best professional metal detector to detect steel

The best professional metal detector to detect steel is the Minelab CTX 3030.

The Minelab CTX 3030 is considered the mack daddy of the Minelab product line. And there’s a reason for it.

This thing is a MONSTER.

Take every bell and whistle you could possibly want in a steel metal detector, combine them, and you get this beast from Minelab.

The FeCo discrimnation feature on this machine is HUGE for detecting stainless steel. Features like this that let you customize what metal you’re searching for are a necessity.

One of my favorite parts of using this is the integrated GPS and PC mapping capability. This lets you record and map your exact metal detecting routes and upload them to the computer. 

As a hobbyist, I couldn’t be happier with this addition. It lets you see every location you’ve gone to, record notes about your route, and provides an awesome way to consolidate all of your metal detecting data.

Best place to go metal detecting for steel

The best place to go metal detecting for steel is beaches with high tourist traffic

metal detecting for steel at the beach
Metal detecting for steel at the beach

Stainless steel is found in many electronics and pieces of jewelry. This makes beaches a gold mine for steel detectors.

Can you go metal detecting for steel at the beach?

Yes, you can go metal detecting for steel at the beach. The best beaches to go metal detecting for steel are in locations with high tourist traffic. 

Examples include Maui, Tampa, and Los Angeles. 

Can you go metal detecting for steel in creeks

Yes, you can go metal detecting for steel in creeks. However, you are likely to find more stainless steel items in other areas. 

Creeks don’t contain a lot of lost jewlery or electronics which are your primary targets in this case scenario.

Can you go metal detecting for steel in the woods

metal detecting for steel in the woods
Metal detecting for steel in the woods

Yes, you can go metal detecting for steel in the woods. The best places in the woods to go metal detecting for steel are on hiking trails. 

I have a love hate relationship with detecting in the woods. It’s hosted some of my best finds BUT, probably my highest number of days getting skunked too. 

How deep can metal detectors detect steel?

Metal detectors can detect steel up to 15 feet. However, the depth is largely dependent on the type of metal detector you are using.

Stainless steel is very difficult to detect so I would recommend using a professional grade metal detector to find it at these depths.

What is the best detector frequency to detect steel?

The best detector frequency to detect steel is above 10 kHz. The exact frequency to detect steel will vary based on the type of detector you’re using, the environment, and what you’re looking for.

Multi-frequency metal detectors are generally the best option when targeting steel.

Is metal detecting for steel worth it?

metal detecting for steel is worth it
Metal detecting for steel is worth it

Yes, metal detecting for steel is worth it. Stainless steel is often found in expensive jewlery which has a high resale value.

You can also find lost electronics such as laptops, smart watches, and cell phones.

How to identify steel when metal detecting?

The best way to identify steel when metal detecting is to use an ohmmeter. At room temperature, steel’s resistance is 6.8 x 10^-7 ohm-meters. 

A faster way to identify steel in the field is to use the scratch test. Simply scratch the find with a stainless steel knife. If it is difficult to make a mark, the item is likely steel.

I prefer the quick and easy method in the field and then like to run more accurate tests at home. 

What can you find made of steel when metal detecting?

what you can find made of steel when metal detecting
What you can find made of steel when metal detecting

Items you can find made of steel when metal detecting are jewelry, laptops, smart watches, and cell phones.

My most memorable steel finds are lost rings that had resale values of $1,000+. 

FAQ

Can metal detectors detect steel wire?

Yes, metal detectors can detect steel wire. Steel wire is typically found within 3 feet of the surface. 

Can metal detectors detect steel coins?

Yes, metal detectors can detect steel coins. Steel coins can be detected up to 10 feet below the surface depending on the type of metal detector you use.

Metal detecting for steel